Meet the Asian Palm Civet. Also known as a Toddy Cat, he is a feline-sized mammal native to Southeast Asia. Civets like to eat red coffee berries and beans. In the jungles in which they live, they find the sweetest, ripest ones and munch on them with their cute little faces. But they can’t digest them, so the berries and beans come out as poop. One day, humans discovered that the enzymes in the civets’ tummies break down the coffee’s bitterness, leaving behind an extremely delicious pooped bean. They took the poop home, washed it lightly, roasted it, ground it, poured boiled water over it, and drank it. Tastes like caramel and chocolate! Thus spawned a small industry of poop-coffee-making.
Today, Kopi Luwak–civet coffee in Indonesian–sells for about $30 a cup in select coffee shops in Japan and the US. I have yet to try a cup, but if you’ve ever drank it I’d love to know whether you thought it was worth the extra bucks.